Wednesday, January 27, 2016

AR S2.1: "Writing Centers and Community Outreach"

According to Pittman and Hayden:


"Writing centers (WCs) [should] undertake community outreach initiatives. Benefits accrue to the WCs and their host institutions, as well as to individuals and groups that avail themselves of the outreach. Extending their mission to include the host community raises the profile of WCs, improves their effectiveness with their student clients, delivers positive outcomes for community participants, develops the professionalism of WC staff, and offers WCs opportunities for pedagogical research."

Do you agree with this point of view? What types of outreach initiatives would benefit our community? How would you change our outreach? Discuss how you believe this would impact our school and community.

Remember to include the following in your COMPLETE PARAGRAPH response:

  • Your impressions of the article (likes/dislikes/agree/disagree)
  • How does it connect to writing centers at large?
  • How can it be applied to the MHS Writing Center?

16 comments:

  1. When I read this article, "Writing Centers and Community Outreach", I felt like the author jumped around from explaining the views on current and past writing centers, to the history of writing centers and then he finally reached talking about outreach and the program at "Advanced Writing Centre (AWC) at the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar". After he reached talking about this outreach opportunity, the article flowed a lot better and the topic seemed to shine through. It was here that I was able to understand some ideas behind writing center outreach. It is a very important part of running an efficient center in high school or college, even public levels. Having the availability and the offering open for anyone in the intended audience makes a writing center much more appealing to the potential client. In the article is read, "From the level of management, it was an important piece of the College plan to contribute
    to the broader, extramural Doha constituency, while fostering healthy relations with that community. For the AWC, it could pull focus, as it were, from student writing that was necessarily circumscribed by curricula, and turn attention to the writing aspirations of the community at large"(6). The way that the Al-quatar writing center worked for outreach was to make sessions available to the greater population, letting them work on anything they wished. It had a positive effect on their incoming clients. When looking at how to apply outreach to the Mattawan Writing Center, I feel like we are already taking one step forwards with the MLW, Major League Writing Day. The idea of opening our doors to prospective clients and incoming students in very smart. It'll help the understanding and trust in the Mattawan high School Writing Center as well as spread the word of our existence. I think perhaps, to make the outreach of our center more impactful, there should be a workshop for actual high school students within the first few weeks of school, because I've had many clients that had no clue what we did, nor that we were even an option for assistance. They are unaware and we need to spread the word to the population we are trying to help. Mattawan High School Students. If this was able to happen, then I think the writing center would be utilized more effectively through student means and it would allow us to spread out help easier.

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  2. Personally, the article "Writing Centres and the idea of Community Outreach", was somewhat interesting. While his ideas as to help the community (like AWC) were great, I feel as if the point of the paper were almost delayed. After all, "Community Outreach" is in the title and had not been mentioned until the fourth page. However, once the writers actually starting talking about community outreach, their ideas began to connect and make sense to the reader. One of the main points that Pittman and Hayden, the authors, make is that they are able to help a variety of different people from different backgrounds. I think one way we could improve on this as a writing center (and not just us, but everyone) is by opening ourselves up to other people. For college level writing centers, maybe they could open their services to people from everywhere, so those who are not privileged enough to have a writing center can still have ways to contact one. For us, perhaps we could just find a way to connect with eighth grade english teachers, explaining the gap between middle school and high school writing. One of these main problems is confidence in writing. For example, even Pittman and Hayden write about confidence issues: "... desire may be undermined by lack of confidence, doubt upon measuring up, which is a powerful inhibitor..." (Pittman and Hayden 6). Even just by sitting down with middle school students and showing them that their paper is not filled with mistakes, but with ways to become a better writer. This could go a long way, especially when the kids are in such a make it or break it year regarding confidence in writing.

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  3. Having read "Writing centres and the idea of community outreach" by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden, many topics were all over the place and did not have much of a connection to one another. The idea of community outreach was not introduced till later in the article, once it was, the article was a good read. Even though many of us already know the history of WCs, the information was a good reminder of how far this program has come and how much further we can go with it still growing. Overall, the article had good information, like reaching out to the community so everyone benefits from the WC. Which we already do with the conferences we attend like MWCA and ECWCA, and also Major League Writers Day. One thing that stood out to me is "The act of writing is inherently an act of cognition, an act of deep learning; it is a process by which knowledge is made and understanding is achieved" (Pittman and Hayden Pg 4). To me this quote defines writers and how writing is understood. Finally, this article has great information and many ideas can be taken away from it and but into the Mattawan Writing Center.

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  4. The article “Writing centres and the idea of community outreach” by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden proved to be exceptionally compelling for me to read. For one, I found the fact that the authors implicated the history of writing centers worthwhile as I am new to the whole program. It really helped me achieve a better understanding regarding the true aspiration of the writing center, especially the included quote written by Stephen North: “‘our job is to produce better writers, not better writing’” (Pitman and Hayden 3). However, I feel as though it also diverted the reader from the desired proposition and focus of the article. Although, this added section was in no way a revelation; after all, the title is “Writing centres and the idea of community outreach.” On account of this, the reader is aware that the article will, indeed, discuss writing centers and the idea of community outreach, whilst, in no way, solely focusing on community outreach. Furthermore, I really enjoyed reading the article and its commendable ideas and examples to extend community outreach. I feel as though this is incredibly important, as “community outreach offers writing centers an orbit beyond the curricular concerns of their host institution so that the community benefits, the host institution benefits, and the writing centre itself benefits,” (Pitman and Hayden 4). Not only that, but I also agreed with a lot of the ways the Advanced Writing Centre (AWC) at the college of the North Atlantic-Qatar reach out as a way to “respond usefully to their local community needs and provide meaningful learning experiences...” (Pitman and Hayden 5). The CNAQ benevolently provides workshops that are often occupied by those who acknowledge English as a foreign language. This, to me, would prove rather beneficial at Mattawan. I know our foreign exchange students habitually struggle with English writing and a workshop to build their confidence and improve their writing competence would, in turn, be especially propitious. All things considered, this intriguing article provided both new insight for me as a beginning consultant, and many community outreach ideas for Mattawan to endeavor.

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  5. When I read, "Writing centres and the idea of community outreach" by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden, the article was not as informing as the topic could have been. I personally believed that when I read it, a girl who is already involved in a writing center, it went over the ideas that are mostly well known to me. Of course, there were some new topics that were hit on in the last four pages in the section "Community outreach". For instance, I became aware of The Advanced Writing Centre, The AWC. They, as a writing center try to "...deliver a vigorous community outreach program..."(Pittman and Hayden 5). With my beliefs about the article, the article could have also been lacking because it was meant for a different audience. If this was the case, the article would have been very informant for the readers. In addition to my views, the article we read also connects with writing centers at large. Almost all writing centers face the problem of community outreach and how to approach the matter daily. Therefor, I feel this article fully grasped the idea of community outreach and ways to successfully accomplish it. Also, I believe that the Mattawan Writing Center can benefit from a portion of this article specifically. Of course, we may not need any of the background information of the article, but the ideas of community outreach that are presented are quite informative. For example, One topic grasps the fundamentals of workshops, "The workshops focus on process, engagement in the act of writing as an intrinsically worthy creative/learning enterprise"(Pittman and Hayden 6). I find this sentence fully explains what writing centers should be in essence, and is something the MHS could use when creating new workshops. In the end, The article "Writing centres and the idea of community outreach" by Pittman and Hayden, has its uses and its faults throughout the article overall.

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  6. The article “Writing Centers and the Idea of Community Outreach” provided helpful insight on effectiveness of community outreach. The authors first start by explaining the complex background of writing centers and how they came to be. I felt like the beginning of the article, while it offered somewhat useful information on writing centers, was off topic. However, if an individual did not know or fully understand what a writing center is, this may be beneficial for them. Next, the authors described the influence writing centers can have in a community. Authors Pittman and Hayden state, “In addition to this community of individuals, the Advanced Writing Center, or AWC, was also able to foster relationships with various educational, cultural, and social entities of the city” (Pittman and Hayden 8). This describes the incredible impact connecting a writing center with a city can be. In order to improve society as a whole, we need to work together to bring education to all people, which is a task the AWC successfully accomplished. All writing centers should strive to achieve this. The article also mentions the importance of building confidence in writing. In the Mattawan Writing Center, we could utilize some of the tactics of the AMC by offering writing workshops to our community. Also, if a student seems to be lacking confidence in their writing, we can spend more time in our consultations supporting them. This could be especially helpful with middle school students, or freshmen. Major League Writing day could be an excellent opportunity to work on these ideas! Overall, although the article started slow, it gave information that is beneficial to many writing centers.

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  7. Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden's article "Writing Centers and the Idea of Community Outreach" focuses on writing centers expanding their services from the classroom to the community. It's a relevant and interesting topic, but the authors didn't really get to the heart of the issue until page four. Before that, Pittman and Hayden wrote a very typical writing center article introduction. It's a well written introduction, with appropriate evidence and quotes from writing center veterans. But the structure of this introduction is very predictable, and didn't quite hold my attention. Once things really get rolling though, it's fairly interesting. Pittman and Hayden go pretty in-depth with a community outreach event committed by the College of the North Atlantic-Qatar's Advanced Writing Center - using quotes from participants and analyzing the benefits afterward. However, among all of the good things, I have another problem with this article. In the very beginning, at the end of the "Abstract" section, Pittman and Hayden promise a rounded analysis of the community outreach issue - listing the benefits and the risks. Yet, I left that article in total support of expanding writing centers to the community. The authors did not cover any risks that I can recall, besides that it "may lead to the death of writing centers as we know them" (1). All in all, Pittman and Hayden provided important, in-depth information on a writing center that successfully reached the community, but they simply didn't cover the issue as much as I would've liked. What they did cover should hopefully provide enough insight for other writing centers who hope to follow CNAQ's footsteps and what the ideal response should be. The topic is very relevant to Mattawan's Writing Center since we have already been helping middle school students transition their writing into high school. And soon we will move farther from our campus, assisting another school with their student's writing.

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  8. I completely agree with Pittman and Hayden’s views on the effectiveness of the WC reaching out to the community. I feel like the information is very useful for all WCs, as being available for the community is part of what makes the WC unique; though, I do wish more of the article was spent on the different ways outreach could be achieved and is relevant today. Some types of outreach initiatives our writing center could take might really benefit the community: job application, resumes, and creative writing. I would change our outreach by hosting after school workshops on relevant topics that would be available to the whole of our community. This would open the WC up to students that would like to improve their writing, but can’t come in during lunch. It would also help graduates who, now facing the reality of needing to create resumes and such, would like the assistance the WC could provide. By outreaching in these ways, the WC can take large strides to bettering the community the WC wouldn't exist without.

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  9. “Writing Centres and the Idea of Community Outreach” by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden relies on the theory of harnessing the success of writing centers to supply communities with extended literary experience. In my opinion, the article inaccurately balances the significance of community outreach with unnecessary inclusion of writing center history. Undermining the most important aspect of the article distracts the reader from the authors’ main purpose, and consequently delivers a less impactful message. However, Pittman and Hayden establish a solid opening to the central concept with the statement, “Community outreach offers writing centers an orbit beyond the curricular concerns of their host institution so that the community benefits, the host institution benefits and the writing centre itself benefits. Furthermore, outreach affords tutor/mentors the chance to affirm writing centre philosophy free of any curricular straight-jacket” (4). Founding a higher standard than what is expected of a typical writing center, Pittman and Hayden encourage an alleviation from the common course to benefit all parties involved. Certainly, the MHS writing center could manipulate its resources to extend beyond the classroom in an effort to fully exhaust its abilities and opportunities.

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  10. In the article, "Writing Centres and the Idea of Community Outreach" by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden, the article seemed to have very little impact on getting the main point across to the readers. However, I completely agree with the idea of community outreach to expand and highlight the effectiveness of the writing center. There was very solid evidence of how the writing center works with the community that Pittman and Hayden are able to explain. The part of the article where the authors explain how the writing center can go beyond to help the community it is in, is very insightful. Though the article is very unorganized and parts are somewhat brief and irrelevant. I believe the ideas present could be posed a useful for other and future writing centers. This article has a lot of relevancy to Mattawan's writing center because in the last we have struggled connecting with other writing classes, not only in the high school. I think it could give the program a new way to approach this situation. Furthermore, I believe that this piece could be very useful for the writing center to branch out and help others in the community. All in all, the Mattawan Writing Center could use this resource to expand our opportunities as a program and make it prosper.

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  11. I felt that the article took a long time to get to the point, but once it did, the authors ideas were very interesting and helpful. At first, the paper seemed to blabber on with a split of information that wasn't completely related to the topic of community outreach. This slowed down the reading and rippled the flow of the paper. However, toward the end of the article, when the idea of community outreach was fully brought up and explained, the author had ideas that I really enjoyed. My favorite part of the article was the included reactions from the citizens who attended the AWC and were "touched" by its community outreach. This article connects to writing centers at large because it explains how as consultants, we should focus on helping as many people as we can in as many ways as we can. Its emphasis on going out into the community and teaching writing was inspiring. It reminds me that in the writing center, we should use our abilities to go out into the community and help others in new and innovative ways. In light of the mattawan writing center, I thought this article was relevant especially with the upcoming project to tutor students in Flint. I thought this was a perfect example encouraging the expansion of the writing center into the community to help those who need it.

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  12. In the article, "Writing centres and the idea of community outreach" by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden, I certainly agree that the article took a long time to get to the point. It doesn't emphasize the importance of community outreach until further into the article, resulting in the reader losing interest in the topic. Although I found the article to drag on, I agree with the idea of community outreach. The article says, “In addition to this community of individuals, the Advanced Writing Center, or AWC, was also able to foster relationships with various educational, cultural, and social entities of the city," something that I hope we can achieve as a writing center. Although our outreach program focuses mainly on an age group, it'd be cool to reach other groups. I'm not sure how well this will work for us because of our location, but it looks like we will be reaching more people in the near future. I liked the article as a whole, but felt that it took too long to get to the point. I agree with its points about outreach and the importance of it, but would prefer to get the information sooner.

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  13. After reading "Writing centres and the idea of community outreach" I would say that it started out a little slow, seemed to be bit repetitive, and much of the information did not pertain to the topic. After getting through the first four pages there was some good information about reaching out. The writing center as a whole can use this information, and use it as motivation to influence the community with writing skills. I do agree with what the article says when they talk about working with different ages, cultures, and different educational groups. I think that the writing center does not do a great job at that because we work mainly with high school students. Reaching out to the community could be something that we could work on as a writing center because it would be a cool idea. Though, I do believe that the article started it out slow it did show me that reaching out to more people could be beneficial.

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  14. The article discusses participation outside the school setting and the community would benefit greatly due to assistance from trained consultants. This piece highlights the importance of providing meaningful learning to the community and that writing is essential for the creation of knowledge and learning. Proposal on benefits to the community and the writing center are presented in the piece. Personally, I found the article redundant. As it claims focus on community outreach, it is overly detailed in the background of the writing center. I found this unnecessary because the audience of the article includes writing center consultants, who should already understand the background of the writing center.
    Although the article wasn’t necessarily “on task” it's ideas would be quite useful at the MHS writing center. At Mattawan, the writing center doesn't have a huge workload when is comes to clients. Traffic flow doesn't always come in for sessions independently, so, consultants don't get to practice improving. The idea of community outreach would be useful. “By extending WC praxis in such venues, tutors/mentors get to explore their limits and even extend them in ways that can then be applied to good purpose in student consultations” (Pittman, Hayden). Because the MHS WC doesn't always have many students in search of help, community outreach would be an excellent option. It would broaden the horizons of consultants who are only familiar with “school work” and also increase the amount of practice, overall improving the techniques of tutors.

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  15. I agree with the ideas expressed in “Writing Centres and the Idea of Community Outreach” by Kevin Pittman and Paula Hayden, but I think the article took its time in getting to the point and was a bit repetitive. Community Outreach, which from the title should be the main idea of the article, wasn't even mentioned until page 4. I agree with Pittman and Hayden about their views on Writing Center's potential to impact a community and how Writing Center should help with a diverse group of ages, cultural backgrounds, and educational settings. I do wish though that the article explored more ways that Writing Center could do said outreach. This article, though flawed, does have ideas that both the general institution of Writing Center and more specifically MHS Writing Center can find applicable. Writing Centers should always be finding ways to expand their impact in the community. As peer tutors, Writing Center would be a great education resource that any community could appreciate. MHS Writing Center, even though we are based in the High School, helps out at the Middle School through Major League Writing Day. And, just recently, our center is planning on helping the community of Detroit through online tutoring in consultations. Although this article wasn't my favorite to read, I did respect the ideas it was trying to express.

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  16. The article itself is sort of disjointed, jumping around and rambling for a bit before actually getting to the point of community outreach. This in itself is a bit distracting but it was overall a good thing to read. We in the writing center do practice this idea of community outreach in some aspects, especially with Major League Writing day, inviting students from throughout our community to participate. The history of a writing center is important, but we all know these things, and if your main point isn't even mentioned until several pages into an article, that's bad. It's hard to sound and act professional, or convey important ideas when the entire beginning of an article is off topic. I definitely think that the writing center has a lot of potential in outreach to the community, whether that entails having writing workshops on non school days that are for the public, or taking a day to go to a public library and have a session for members at a library. So while there are things that we already do there is more that we could be doing. I don't particularly enjoy reading the article, but it did open up another avenue for expansion of our center in the future.

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